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The Salvation Army estimate that over 9,000 West Australians experience homelessness each night, and it’s expected that this number will increase due to the impacts of the COVID-19, which is why National Homelessness Week is even more important this year.
Kicking off tomorrow, Sunday 2 August, National Homelessness Week highlights that homelessness remains a problem and there is much to be done to help our fellow West Australians.
REIWA and its agents are proud to partner with the Salvos as part of our Community REInvest initiative, which provides support to help the Salvos continue their vital work, particularly in response to homelessness.
In addition, the private rental market plays a vital role in helping to provide safe, affordable and accessible housing. As a landlord there are a few things you can keep in mind to help understand those who are on the brink of homelessness and what you
can do to help.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, a moratorium on evictions was put in place to ensure those who are impacted financially from the outbreak still have a roof over their heads. It’s in place until 30 September and during this time landlords can help by working
with tenants who have been affected by COVID-19 to come to an agreement about how to manage this difficult situation. We have been fortunate in WA that COVID-19 has had far less impact on tenants and owners than other states.
Family violence is another key contributor to homelessness, with victims of family violence suffering significant hardships when they are forced to leave a rental home. They are at risk of homelessness, loss of employment opportunities and disruption
to their children’s education.
REIWA recognises the role our industry plays and has been supportive of the Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment (Family
Violence) Bill 2018, which enables victims of family and domestic violence to make better choices without the burden of significant financial consequences.
For example, a tenant experiencing family or domestic violence have the option to change their locks and can apply to courts to have the perpetrators name removed from the lease.
During the week, Shelter WA, Department of Communities, Beyond Bank and WA Alliance to End Homelessness are hosting a number of events (in person and through Zoom), which aim to provide more information on the issue and what the public can do to help.
We all have a part to play in helping those who struggle to find appropriate housing opportunities. I encourage everyone to look at the small ways they can help make a big difference to those sleeping rough on our streets this Homelessness Week.
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